Annie Lane: There’s no place like home for the holidays

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Dear Readers: As 2021 comes to a close and we look to the start of a new year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on ourselves and our lives. I’d love to hear what goals and resolutions you have for 2022. Send your responses to

Here’s a letter from a reader who, after years of elaborate Christmas hosting, decided to switch things up and take a low-pressure, stressless approach to celebrating.

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Dear Annie: Around five years ago, still reeling from hosting our 15th or so yearly sit-down Thanksgiving extravaganza (out-of-town guests, family, friends, random strays, you get the picture), always fun but always exhausting, I was asked what we were doing for Christmas. Out of nowhere, I said, “We’re having a pajama Christmas.” And so a new family tradition was born.

Pajama Christmas means we get up when we feel like it, we stay in pajamas (or other comfortable stay-at-home wear) all day and we do whatever we want. Everyone we know is invited to come over, either to say hi or to stay. The ones who stay, who are also in pajamas, help themselves to food or drink, park themselves on a couch or chair (with a fleecy blanket, of course) and read, chat, watch movies on Netflix, nap, play a board game, whatever. There’s a tree but no gifts except for each other’s company. No one waits on anyone or cleans up after anyone. It’s a day to relax and enjoy.

Every time someone hears about our pajama Christmas, they say something along the lines of “But I want to do that, too!” (often adding “instead of (fill in the blank)”). When I tell them that all they have to do is announce that that’s what they’re doing and then see what happens, I can almost see the light dawning that no, they don’t HAVE to travel or buy 82 gifts or cook 28 tons of food, that they, too, can stay home (or come to my house).

P.S. Anyone who is important enough to visit for Christmas is (or should be) important enough to visit at another time instead. So save your money and stress and see your long-distance relatives on another important occasion (their birthday, their anniversary, their town’s annual Halloween dog parade, whatever) and spend your holiday doing what you most want to do.

May everyone have a safe and happy time this season and a safe and happy 2022.

— Pajamas in Virginia

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to